"A Great Visit From A Great Man"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, October 3, 2015

Some people think it’s a bad idea to talk about politics and religion. We all know I ignore the caution about politics, but I do not often address the topic of religion.

The visit by Pope Francis was about a lot more than religion and just about everyone was drawn to watch our country’s welcoming him — many thousands of them in person.

The entire country was filled with hope and elation when the pope arrived. People of all faiths traveled from every corner of the nation — even as far away as Hawaii. It mattered not what the admirers’ religious backgrounds were, he hugged and pleased them all. His humble demeanor and love of children made everyone watching his travels through our country smile with pleasure.

The Pope’s popemobile was drawn to a stop numerous times when the Pope spotted a group of youngsters. He often got out to kiss the babies and would reach out trying to touch as many others that he could.

The Pope’s visit began in Cuba, which gave us a chance to see how that country reacted to him and how he was treated.

While the cameras rolled there, we were given an opportunity to see the streets of our new friends. Of course, the old automobiles were impressive as was the beautiful architecture.

Cuba is only a scant 90 miles from our southern shore of Florida, so it will be likely visitors will flock to a place everyone has heard so much about. I would love to visit there myself because I have had the privilege of meeting and employing many people of Cuban decent. Some have become good friends over the years as I winter in southern Florida.

I admit, as a people, they do love to party. But they also love to work hard. And when it comes to family, they are very tight. They dress their offspring in the most beautiful garments, many handmade. They also shower them with toys that delight and entertain.

As neighbors they will always pitch in and help if they see the need; they excel in ceramics and tile work. They are very knowledgeable landscapers and their homes and grounds are neat and well cared for. Bright colors are favorites and you will see them on homes, cars and boats.

After departing Cuba, the Pope traveled to Washington D.C. and his arrival was treated with tremendous pomp and circumstance, as was fitting. Media coverage was extensive, on all channels but unlike other events that have “over” coverage, this one was deserved. Anyone, of any faith — or no faith — had to recognize that this man was like no other. His love of our planet and all of mankind was unmistakable.

As I viewed many hours of the pope’s visit, traveling to New York and on to Philadelphia where hundreds of thousands of people lined the avenues and poured into the churches to see him, I was enlightened. His power to bring people together and influence them is tremendous. His address to Congress was particularly moving, and very direct. We can only hope others besides Rep. John Boehner will heed his words.

The pope asked many along the way, including Boehner, to pray for him, which seemed unusual but perhaps only to those unaware of his dedication. We all certainly got a lesson regarding humility from his example.

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